While currently no official Canadian figures are available to prove or disprove that work-inspired cosmetic surgery is on the rise, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery recently found that two thirds of surgeons are seeing an increase in cosmetic surgery among those who want to be more competitive in the workplace. A similar trend seems to be at play in here.
Men and women may go to this extreme for a wide variety of reasons. “Some recount that it’s picking up on a particular sense of company direction or mantra as to age and appearance and youth being central. Sometimes it’s because of a conflict at work with someone at work who is younger, and it’s felt that this is a way to obtain a particular edge,” said Anthony Elliott, a professor in sociology at Flinders University.
A recent study revealed that nearly half of professional women know a female colleague who has been hired or promoted due to physical attractiveness rather than job performance; and one-fifth admitted they’d consider getting cosmetic surgery to improve their career.
While numerous studies have identified a pay disparity between attractive and less attractive employees, a study conducted by the University of California found that the reason behind the disparity is that better looking people are perceived as being more helpful and cooperative than their peers, and, curiously, less selfish too. Within the parameters of the study, this rang true across various industries and societies.
Not only is a looks-based meritocracy prevalent, but also some industry commentators believe the pressure will only increase. “There is a heightened awareness today of cosmetic surgery which didn’t exist 20 years ago or even five years ago,” Gillian Franklin from Heat Group said. “The general community is much more accepting of cosmetic surgery today and it’s more affordable now,” she said, adding that various procedures have also become more accessible.